The Galveston Ball Boys and Girls Beginner Fall Classic featured 35 girls and 43 boys who are just embarking on the adventures of competitive golf. The one-day event a couple of weeks ago suggests that golf programs in the county and in the region are continuing to gain popularity at the high-school level.

Ten schools participated in the late-October tournament, including Clear Brook, Friendswood, Dickinson, Texas City and the host Ball High Tors. Players from Alief Hastings, Baytown Lee, Brazoswood, Alvin, Alief Taylor and Pasadena traveled to Moody Gardens Golf Course to test their skills in “individual only” competition.

Clear Brook’s Rishi Bengani led the field by four shots with Friendswood’s Jake Burke, Matthew Smith and Dylan Hancock finishing second, third and fourth. Tor golfers Daniel Golan and Garrett Peters were joined by Dickinson Gator Braven Hargrove in making the top 10 scorers. Texas City Stingaree Lorenzo Gonzales finished 12th.

Loany Covarrubias from Alief Hastings won the girls division by a single stroke over Clear Springs’ Julia Salsbury. Elizabeth Donlon and Brooke Hopkins put the Lady Tors among the top 10 scorers, along with Alexis Webb, Abby O’Neal and Emma Sybesma from Clear Springs.

Memorial High won the Galveston Ball Girls Varsity Fall Classic on Nov. 13 as the hosting Lady Tors finished in fifth place behind Barbers Hill, Friendswood and Clear Falls.

Memorial’s Zoe Slaughter was a medalist with a fine 70; Heidi Demel (Friendswood), Reagan Conner (Ball High) and Erin Flynn (Clear Falls) were among the top seven golfers. Torey Kennedy finished in 11th place.

Clear Falls and Deer Park tied for team honors at the Clear Creek Wildcat Invitational two-day event at Moody Gardens last weekend. The host Wildcats were off to a competitive start on day one, but their chances were seriously diminished when an even par score — their lowest of the day — was negated by a rules infraction resulting in a disqualification.


Jonathon “Alex” Welch is a true student athlete. He stands tall on the golf course at 6-foot-2 where he plays to a +2.5 handicap; he stands tall in the classroom where he maintains a 3.25 grade point average.

Alex has played all four of his years at Clear Springs on the varsity golf team, but that will come to an end next year. Clear Springs’ loss will be Texas A&M Commerce’s gain, as Alex recently signed a letter of intent to study and play there next fall.

Alex likes to help. After Hurricane Harvey devastated the area, he worked dawn-to-dusk for one straight week to assist neighbors both known and unknown in dealing with their flooded-out homes. Now, he has returned to helping his Clear Springs golf mates, whose accomplishments have been more than a little noteworthy.

The Chargers won the district title last season after a second-place finish in 2016. It was a team that in 2016 posted seven top-three finishes including five first-place wins. Next month, they will shoot for a third consecutive Dick Harmon Invitational at the Golf Club of Houston.

Individually, Alex has been playing and winning at golf since age 7, amassing 55 first-place finishes on junior golf tours such as the TJGT, AJGA, STPGA, HGA and Future Champions amateur tours. More recently, he finished third in the Alabama Jr. PGA Championships and was second Medalist with rounds of 72-72 in his single high school tournament for 2017.

Since recovering from a broken wrist that sidelined him earlier this year, Alex has carded a pair of hole-in-ones, a personal best 65 at the Golf Club of Houston and eight rounds in the 60s including three tournament rounds. He finished second in the Houston Golf Association Player of the Year voting.

Texas A&M Commerce is a four-year university offering more than 100 courses of study from 26 academic departments. Choosing from among those will be more challenging than choosing from 14 clubs in the bag!


Due to space limitations, science-based discussion of my latest malady will have to wait until next week. Meanwhile, if you want to give yourself an early Christmas gift (and why not, since Christmas themed commercials started weeks ago), how about lessons from one of the top 50 ranked golf instructors in the country?

Rated No. 1 is Butch Harmon, who says he will charge you no more and no less than he charges the world’s best players: $1,500 per hour. Tough luck you didn’t take advantage of Butch for about $25 bucks per lesson back when he was hanging out at Bayou Golf Club!

Or, you can just join in the fun if you are age-appropriate, and join the likes of Marc Napier, Albert Martinez, Homer Whittington and Dick Orwieller, who teamed up to win last week’s senior scramble at that same course.

No lessons needed for Jane Montgomery, Karen Waltzer and Kathy Edwards, who finished win, place, show in the South Shore Harbour LGA’s Bloody Mary Derby. Ditto that for Don Allen and Mike Hembree, winners of the SSH MGA Smoker Tournament.

Be safe and give thanks, on and off the course.

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